A sewing blog about building a functional, cohesive handmade wardrobe, one garment at a time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Anniversary gift

I really love quilts.  I think they are beautiful.  But I am not a quilter.

A very good friend got married last August.  The wedding was across the country and given the turmoil in our lives at the time, my husband and I weren't able to make it.  This particular friend really values handmade.  I knit him a beanie 11 years ago, which he wore constantly.  Then while he was living in Mauritania his house was broken into, and along with electronics, the thieves made off with the beanie.  (I admit to being a little bit flattered that they thought it was worth stealing).  My friend was bereft, so I knit him another one.

When he got married, of course I was going to make them something.  I haven't knit much at all lately, so I decided to make them a throw quilt.  It took me quite awhile to get started on this project - in fact, I'm just going to squeak in before their first anniversary.

I had this idea in my head of a simple patchwork of shot cottons.  So I bought half-yards of 15 colors (the fabric line is Artisan Cottons) and went to work.  I cut 35 squares 11"x9" (because that was what I got when I evenly divided my half-yards into square-ish blocks) and sewed them into five strips of seven blocks.

I just stitched-in-the-ditch (roughly; I'm really not good at it, I have found) to quilt it.  I used Warm and Natural quilt batting, which says you can quilt 10" apart - this was good because I didn't want to do more than that.  Like I said, I'm not a quilter.

I got some puckers where lines of quilting crossed previously stitched lines of quilting.  This has happened with all the quilts I have made and it's enough to make me not want to quilt anymore.  I know this one is not perfect, but I hope they will appreciate it.  And I'm not going to apologize for my lack of quilting prowess any more in this post.  Instead, I'm going to show you what I like about it.

I really love the combination of colors.  I played with a few arrangements and then ultimately ended up arranging the colors roughly by color families on the diagonal.

I took the opportunity of the quilt back to use up some of the quilting fabric cuts I had kicking around the stash.  I worried that it was a little too girly but I like the green, yellow and orange together.

I finished the binding by hand, and I love how neat it looks.  In my humble, non-quilter opinion, it is definitely worth the effort to hand-sew a quilt binding.  I thought after quilting that I should bind the quilt in black, but I didn't have any black cotton in my stash, and I didn't want to have to run out to Joann's, so I ended up using this medium-gray quilting cotton I had lying around.  In the end, I think it looks better than the black would have, especially against the back.

I love looking at different quadrants of this quilt and letting my eyes absorb how those colors look together.  There are so many different moods in these colors, depending on where you look.  Isn't the turquoise below gorgeous?  It is woven with peach threads to make the shot cotton effect.  The photo doesn't do it justice at all.  The red/purple above it is also so pretty.

I also really love this blue/green/yellow intersection.

The quilt finished at 52" by 60" square.  It felt so heavy to me while I was quilting it.  I couldn't understand why, after all, a 52x60" quilt didn't seem like it ought to be much bigger than the roughly 40" square baby quilts I made earlier this year.  But then I did the math, and yeah, it's nearly twice as big, area-wise.  I really can't imagine making a twin-sized quilt on my machine, let alone a queen-sized one.

I do, however, have enough of the shot cottons left over to make another quilt, and despite the fact that I am not a quilter, I kind of want to.  At least, I kind of want to make the top.  I just don't want to quilt the darn thing.

I know that I can send my quilts out to be quilted.  But I am stubborn and don't really see the point in starting the quilt process if I am not going to finish.  Alternatively, there is a local quilt shop nearby that sells time on its longarm machines.  I don't see myself doing that either.  So more than likely, I will probably give in to a quilting urge again in a few months and you'll see me back here with another imperfect, puckery project.

I am not a quilter.  But I sure love quilts.


  1. This is beautiful Masha - love the colours you have used. I am not a quilter either, but completely get what you mean about sending it off for quilting. I recently made a duvet cover - maybe that could be an option?

    1. Thanks Justine! I did make a duvet cover for my son last year instead of a quilt - and that was much more satisfying :)

  2. Lovely colours. I don't think I could ever quilt because I am (a) too indecisive when it comes to colours, and (b) too impatient. So I salute your beautiful work! Such a lovely and thoughtful gift for your friend.

  3. Thanks Marisa! The shot cottons are so pretty, they kind of just went together by themselves. I'm clearly too impatient for quilting too - or I'd have done more quilting lines!

  4. It is beautiful, my type of quilting.

  5. This is the perfect kind of gift - something that is special that will be kept forever. You are a good friend!

  6. Oh I hear you about quilting. I LOVE them... and yet I don't have the patience for it myself. I love the colors you chose. I am sorry about everything you went through with your husband's stroke. What a terrible thing. How are things now?


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